Uganda + 1 more

Uganda: Complex Emergency Situation Report #2 (FY 2003)


Armed conflict in Northern Uganda combined with violent looting and cattle raids by Karamojong pastoralists in the east have resulted in high levels of internal displacement. More than 840,000 people were displaced as of December 2002, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA). Food security, even in typically productive agricultural areas, has been threatened by ongoing conflict, and insecurity has frequently obstructed the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Since 1986, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony has waged an insurgency in Northern Uganda, primarily using Southern Sudan as a base for attacks on government forces and civilians. LRA attacks have displaced approximately three quarters of the ethnic Acholi population in Gulu, Kitgum, and Pader Districts. During the course of the conflict, the LRA has abducted approximately 26,000 children for the purposes of forced conscription and sexual exploitation. Prior to April 2002, Northern Uganda had enjoyed 18 months of relative stability. Continued attacks and unsuccessful cease-fire negotiations led the Government of Uganda (GOU) to launch Operation Iron Fist in March 2002. Under an agreement with the Government of Sudan (GOS), the GOU sent 10,000 Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) troops into southern Sudan to disable the LRA's rear camps located in southern Sudan. As a result of this operation, LRA fighters have infiltrated into Northern Uganda, attacking villages and camps and creating a complex humanitarian emergency. Uganda President Yoweri Musevani has spent six months in Gulu town to personally supervise the operation with the aim of wiping out the LRA by May 2003.


Total: 843,000 UN OCHA (December 2002)
Refugees in Uganda
Total: 176,900
150,000 from Sudan
14,300 from Rwanda
7,600 from the DRC
5,000 from other countries
UNHCR and U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR)
Uganda Refugees
Total: 20,000
10,000 in the DRC
5,000 in Sudan
5,000 in Kenya

* As of November 18. These are the most recent figures released by UN OCHA.

Total FY 2003 USAID/OFDA Assistance to Uganda: $100,000
Total FY 2003 USG Humanitarian Assistance to Uganda: $25,985,400


Insecurity Restricts Humanitarian Access. In mid-January, non-government organization (NGO) staff in Kitgum district reported that gunmen shot and hit a Ugandan Red Cross vehicle near Padibe. Later reports concluded that the vehicle was not specifically targeted, but the incident highlights the continually volatile security situation in Northern Uganda. The Uganda Red Cross has been one of the organizations with the most consistent access in the region. Ongoing insecurity has restricted NGOs to providing assistance in towns and to the camps near town centers.

Violence in Karamoja Region. According to a UPDF spokesman, an estimated 30 people died in northeastern Karamoja Region in mid-January following clashes between two rival clans of the Karamojong tribe, the Pian and the Bokora. The dry season has led to clans moving with their livestock in search of pasture and water, prompting conflicts over limited resources. In an unrelated event, a group of suspected Kenyan cattle rustlers attacked two villages in Karamoja at the beginning of January, resulting in ten deaths and more than 700 cattle taken.

Increasing Numbers of Internally Displaced Persons. According to UN OCHA in early December, more than 840,000 Ugandans have been displaced by fighting in Northern Uganda and reside in 60 camps. UN OCHA estimates that 385,000 IDPs reside in 32 camps in Gulu District, 271,000 people in 20 camps in Pader District, 140,000 people in 8 camps in Kitgum District, and 47,000 in the main town of Lira District. The number of IDPs has increased from approximately 522,000 in July 2002.

In 1995, in order to isolate civilians and the LRA, the GOU conceived the creation of "protected camps"or centers where many of the Acholi displaced reside. The GOU's order for all residents to move into the camps has resulted in overcrowding and a lack of basic supplies, including adequate water and sanitation facilities, which has led to health and problems among resident populations. In addition to residing in the camps created in wake of the most recent violence, IDPs have sought shelter in urban centers, public buildings, and in formal and spontaneous sites created prior to June 2002.

Deteriorating Food Security in Northern Uganda. Until early 2002, many residents in the camps retained access to farmlands but the resurgence in LRA violent activities since April 2002 has restricted planting and harvesting of crops. Fighters have also looted or burnt many crops, creating increased dependence on humanitarian organizations for food and other basic resources. Harvests are expected to be below average.

Displacement and drought conditions have exacerbated food insecurity and have led to crop failures in five districts of the Acholi sub-region. Gulu, Kitgum, and Pader are the worst affected districts. In October 2002, WFP reduced food rations for vulnerable populations in Gulu district to 70 percent of the daily basic nutritional requirement due to diminishing resources. Continuing insecurity has severely restricted access to IDPs in the region. Due to the fighting, personnel from WFP require an armed UPDF escort when traveling in accessible areas of the north to deliver food and assess the situation. Populations continue to require food, potable water, sanitation, health, education, food security, and social services programs in more than seventy locations.

According to WFP on January 23, Northern Uganda currently faces its worst humanitarian crisis in the 16 years of the conflict. WFP continues to assist accessible groups of IDPs and 150,000 Sudanese refugees. Fighting has displaced an estimated 70 percent of the population of Gulu, Kitgum, and Pader Districts.

WFP projects that it will need 108,000 MT of food commodities to assist 950,000 people in Northern Uganda between January and June 2003. In early January, WFP appealed for $59 million to meet these needs. The agency faces a pipeline shortfall of 84,961 MT of food during this time period. In January 2003, WFP suspended the distribution of cereals to IDPS in Northern Uganda and reduced cereal rations to refugees by 50 percent due to the shortfall in cereals.

African media sources report that more than 250,000 people in ten sub-counties of Chua County and two sub-counties of Lamwo County in Kitgum District are facing acute food shortages. WFP has been providing food assistance to IDP camps located in seven sub-counties.

NGOs reported increased malnutrition rates among children in Gulu and Kitgum towns between September and October, and health workers indicated to USAID/OFDA field personnel that they expect the rates to increase due to constrained humanitarian access to vulnerable populations.

In addition to the food insecurity in Kitgum, Gulu, and Pader Districts, the GOU and humanitarian organizations have warned that total crop failure may occur in Karamoja Region, resulting in further demands on international emergency food assistance. The 2002 harvests were below normal, and the next successful harvest is not expected until September 2003. In Moroto District, government authorities estimated in late October that 70 percent of the more than 73,000 households in the district were affected by decreased harvests.

Effects of the DRC Conflict on Uganda. The intensifying conflict and limited infrastructure in eastern DRC has resulted in thousands of food vulnerable Congolese. In late January, WFP established a base in western Uganda to support its emergency food program in the DRC.

During late January, more than 15,000 Congolese fled fighting in the Mahagi area of Northeastern DRC to Nebbi District, inside the border with Uganda. Local residents are assisting some of these refugees but many are still in need of food, water, and medical assistance. In October, the GOU deployed approximately 1,000 soldiers to the DRC following intensified fighting, but the battalion returned to Uganda in late December.


On December 23, 2002, U.S. Ambassador Jimmy Kolker re-declared a disaster in response to the ongoing complex humanitarian emergency in Northern Uganda.

In response to the humanitarian crisis in FY 2002, USAID/OFDA provided approximately $1.5 million to support programs in health, water and sanitation, and coordination, as well as to supply emergency non-food items, through UN OCHA, CARE, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Uganda Red Cross, Action Contre le Faim (ACF), and the Associazione Volontaria per il Servizio Internazionale (AVSI). USAID/OFDA field-based staff have faced difficulties assessing the situation in the north due to the deteriorated security situation during the past four months, which has limited travel. In FY 2003 to date, USAID/OFDA has provided $100,000 through the USAID Mission in Kampala to assist the Uganda Red Cross in providing urgent humanitarian assistance. Additional assistance for FY 2003 to provide non-food items to vulnerable populations will be provided in the near future.

In FY 2002, USAID's Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) provided 28,660 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food assistance to WFP, valued at approximately $15.3 million. USAID/FFP funding supported WFP's Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO), which assisted an estimated 500,000 IDPs and refugees affected by food insecurity in Uganda. In response to the increasing need in the north during FY 2003, USAID/FFP is providing more than $25.8 million for 49,060 MT of emergency food commodities.

In FY 2002, USAID/Uganda supplied approximately $90,000 in emergency assistance in response to the declared disaster to assist affected populations in Northern Uganda.

In FY 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided 1,489 MT of Section 416(b) surplus food commodities to Uganda to assist in emergency food needs. The more than $800,000 worth of surplus food commodities includes 1,279 MT of cornmeal, 150 MT of vegetable oil, and 60 MT of corn-soy blend for WFP's PRRO. In addition, USDA provided 250 MT of vegetable oil for school feeding programs, valued at $165,000. In FY 2003 to date, USDA has not provided any assistance to Uganda.

In FY 2002, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM) contributed more than $6.2 million in support of humanitarian assistance programs for refugees and host communities in Uganda. State/PRM funding supported programs in health, education, environment, and sexual and gender-based violence, through UNHCR, WFP, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IRC, Lutheran World Federation, and to the Ambassador's Fund in Uganda.



USAID/OFDA Uganda Red Cross Emergency non-food items through USAID/Kampala Northern Uganda
USAID/FFP WFP 49,060 MT of P.L. 480 Title II Emergency Food Assistance Country-wide
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Uganda in FY 2003


USAID Total 1
USAID/OFDA UN OCHA Coordination Nationwide
USAID/OFDA ACF Nutrition Gulu, Kitgum, and Pader Districts
USAID/OFDA AVSI Emergency non-food items, water and sanitation Kitgum and Pader Districts
USAID/OFDA CARE Emergency health assistance and support for IDPs Gulu District
USAID/OFDA IRC Water and sanitation Kitgum and Lira Districts
USAID/OFDA Uganda Red Cross Emergency non-food items Gulu
USAID/FFP World Food Program (WFP) P.L. 480 Title II Emergency Food Assistance -28,660 MT Country-wide
USDA Total
USDA WFP Section 416(b) Surplus Food Commodities -1,489 MT to the PRRO; 250 MT for school feeding Country-wide
STATE/PRM Ambassador's Fund School reconstruction for Congolese refugees Kyangwali Camp, Central Uganda
STATE/PRM IFRC Camp management, health, water and sanitation Southwestern Uganda
STATE/PRM IRC Health and sanitation assistance for Sudanese refugees Northern Uganda
STATE/PRM LWF Support to Sudanese refugees Northern Uganda
STATE/PRM UNHCR Refugee support programs Country-wide
STATE/PRM UNHCR Support for environmental programs Country-wide
STATE/PRM UNHCR Support for children's programs Country-wide
STATE/PRM WFP Refugee Support Country-wide
STATE/PRM WFP Full Cost Recovery Country-wide
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Uganda in FY 2002-FY 2003

1. State/PRM figures for FY 2002 do not include unearmarked funding for UNHCR and ICRC Africa-wide programs. In FY 2003, State/PRM has provided $30 million to UNHCR and ICRC in unearmarked contributions for Africa.